How Your Second Pregnancy Is Different from Your First

Can’t wait to give your baby a little brother or sister to play with? You’re not alone: One-third of pregnancies in the U.S. happen within 18 months of a previous birth, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute in New York. And planning a pregnancy quickly after your first one is even more common in women over the age of 30, according to the findings.

But just because you’ve been pregnant before doesn’t mean you know exactly what you’re in for. In fact, your second pregnancy will likely be a little different from your first, says Shari Brasner, MD, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Brasner shares a few things you should expect during a round-two pregnancy:

You could deal with nutrition issues
The biggest concern during a second pregnancy, nutritionally speaking, is that you might be more iron deficient, says Brasner. Pregnancy in general puts a big strain on the iron stores in your blood, and many women go into their first pregnancy iron deficient, she says. This, combined with the fact that your body’s already been weakened by your first pregnancy and maybe hasn’t had time to fully recover, could be why you lack the nutrient even more while carrying your second child, says Brasner. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to remedy since iron supplements (which you might want to take a couple of times a week, depending on your needs) are widely available.

You might be prone to more complications
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic both suggest that the optimal time to wait between births is at least 18 months. Why? Research shows pre-term birth, low birth weight, and even growth restriction are three of the things you might have to worry about if you’re having your second child very soon after your first, says Brasner, because your body hasn’t had enough time to recover from the physical and nutritional burden of your first pregnancy.

You can experience certain symptoms sooner
Pregnancy-related woes like back pain, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids that typically occur during the third trimester can strike earlier—not to mention more dramatically, says Brasner. Why? Basically, your first pregnancy weakens your muscoskeletar structure and your vessel walls, which makes it easier for these symptoms to resurface. The good news: Any potential morning sickness and cravings shouldn’t be worse than they were the first time around.

You may feel bigger
Many women feel like they’re getting bigger, faster during their second pregnancy, but that’s really a subjective thing since your measurements will most likely follow the same pattern as the first time, says Brasner. However, keep in mind that if you’ve held onto some of the extra pounds you gained from the first pregnancy, then you’ll of course be bigger the second time around.

You’ll likely be exhausted
While waiting for baby number two to arrive, you might find yourself low on energy—but it’s usually not a health concern, says Brasner. Usually, feeling like you’re dragging is just because you’re already a mom and dealing with things that you didn’t have to deal with the first time around—like taking care of a young, high-energy child.

…But you should also feel more relaxed
If you headed to your doctor’s appointments with a long list of questions and concerns during your first pregnancy, chances are you’ll be way more blasé the second time around. The simple reason for the change: Already having had a child builds up your confidence, so there isn’t that fear of the unknown.

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

More from WH:
How to Work Out Safely During the First Trimester
5 Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Body
3 Steps to Have a Healthy Pregnancy

javahut healthy feed

Get This: Meat Now Says Where It Came From

Check out the list of links that should be on your radar today:

New meat labeling laws mean you’ll know exactly where your steaks and roasts came from. Find out how to make meat safer[Huffington Post]

Inside Amy Schumer has been renewed by Comedy Central. Score! [Vulture]

You can learn how to be compassionate. [PsychCentral]

Angelina Jolie’s aunt died of breast cancer—just two weeks after the actress spoke out about her preventative double mastectomy. [Newser]

More than nine in 10 people have detectable levels of BPA in their urine, according to a recent study. [MedicalDaily]

Pesticides may increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a new review of existing research—but eating (organic) peppers might help prevent it. [Reuters]

Medicare paid for $ 80 million in eyelid lifts in 2011. [Newser]

Domino’s Brazil has invented a DVD that smells like pizza when you play it. That’s just cruel. [The Frisky]

A Seattle chef is serving tempura tarantula at the—wait for it—third annual Bug-A-Thon. Needless to say, we won’t be attending. [Reuters]

Photo: Digital Vision/ThinkStock

javahut healthy feed

Get This: Fish Oil Protects Your Brain From Junk Food

Check out the list of links that should be on your radar today:

Another reason to love fish oil: A new analysis of existing research suggests it could help minimize the damaging effect of junk food on the brain. [ScienceDaily]

ABC picked up three pilots created by women for its fall lineup! [Jezebel]

Women’s immune systems age slower than men’s, according to a new study. [Huffington Post]

In most cases, having a healthy weight is a good thing. But recent research suggests that it might make you more likely to develop endometriosis. [Medscape Today]

U.S. airlines made $ 3.5 billion in baggage fees in 2012.  These tips will help you save cash the next time you travel, regardless of whether you’re checking bags or not.   [USA Today]

The average IQ today is 14 points lower than it was 140 years ago, according to a new study. []

Diddy Tweeted that he’s going to be a regular on Downton Abbey. Please, please let this be a (not at all funny) joke. [Twitter]

Burger King is adding a knockoff McRib to the menu. Just what the world needed: another patty made of mystery meat and drenched in barbecue sauce. [Newser]

New research suggests that pedophiles are born that way—so they can’t help their urges. That still doesn’t make it OK… []

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

javahut healthy feed

7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cancer

If there were a way to prevent cancer, you’d definitely try it, right? Turns out, there are plenty of ways to reduce your risk of developing the disease, which affects 1.6 million new Americans every year. The thing is, many people just don’t use them.

Researchers estimate that lifestyle factors—like smoking, eating poorly, not getting enough exercise, and being overweight—will contribute to nearly a third of the new cancer cases expected in 2013, according to an annual report recently released by the American Cancer Society (ACS). In other words, healthier choices could keep as many as 553,000 people cancer-free this year.

Changing your behavior sounds pretty simple compared to, say, finding a cure for cancer. And yet, Americans continue to make poor health decisions year after year.

“We pick up these behaviors during our younger years, when we aren’t really thinking about the consequences,” says Suzanne O’Neill, PhD, assistant professor and health psychologist at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. “It’s difficult to connect them with outcomes that may or may not happen decades from now. And it’s easy to convince yourself that you can quit later.”

Worse yet, a lot of unhealthy behaviors–like smoking a cigarette or lying out in the sun—provide immediate rewards that reinforce the bad habit, says O’Neill. But healthy behaviors don’t always feel as great right away.

It might not be easy to end unhealthy tendencies, but it’s certainly worth the effort. Make these lifestyle tweaks ASAP to cut your cancer risk:

Stop smoking
Researchers estimate that 174,100 people will die from cancers related to smoking in 2013. If you currently light up, quit as soon as possible, suggests Vilma Cokkinides, PhD, strategic director of risk factors and screening for the American Cancer Society. The earlier you nix the habit, the longer you’ll live, she says. And don’t worry about ballooning as soon as you quit. Here’s how to stomp out the habit without gaining weight.

Manage your weight—starting NOW
Weight is a factor in as many as 20 percent of cancer-related deaths, according to ACS report. Of course, shedding pounds is easier said than done. Find out what your healthy weight is, then take action with these weight loss tips that don’t suck.

Wear SPF 15 or higher every day
It’s also a good idea to wear sun-protective clothing when you’re outside for extended periods of time—especially in the summer, says Cokkinides. And of course, never, ever visit a tanning salon. Thirty-three states now regulate the indoor tanning industry, and with good reason: Skin cancer is almost a sure thing for people who fake bake and burn, according to a 2010 University of Minnesota study. Find the best sunscreen for your skin type.

Cut way back on processed foods
Cokkinides suggests eating like your life depends on it because, well, it does. The fewer processed foods and fatty meats you consume, the less likely you’ll be to develop cancer. Load up on plants and lean proteins instead. You can get started with these seven ways to sneak more produce into your diet.

Move more
While researchers don’t know exactly how much exercise is necessary to ward off cancer, they recommend shooting for 150 minutes of hard-core exercise per week, or up to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity movement. Physical activity can reduce your risk of breast, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancer—and help fend off weight-related cancers, too, according to the ACS report.

Get the HPV vaccine
If you’re 26 or younger (the age until which the HPV vaccine has been proven effective), ask your doc about getting this. Since HPV contributes to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, according to the ACS report, taking this step to protect yourself is a no-brainer.

Get regular health screenings
Unfortunately, even the healthiest lifestyle won’t make you totally immune to cancer. Early detection helps people maximize their odds of survival. The thing is, between breast exams, skin exams, pap smears, STD tests, mammograms, and colonoscopies, it can be hard to stay on top of the screenings you need. Bookmark this fool-proof guide to remember what needs to be checked when.

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

More from WH:
The Checklist That Slashes Your Cancer Risk
The Skin Cancer Fighter in Your Medicine Cabinet Now
How to Help a Friend With Cancer

javahut healthy feed

Giada: “Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer”

Food Network chef (and former Women’s Health cover star) Giada De Laurentiis has given plenty tips on how to make the perfect pasta and how to whip up a mean chicken Florentine. But now she’s suggesting something totally different: She wants you to protect yourself and your loved ones from skin cancer.

Today, De Laurentiis announced that she has teamed up with Stand Up 2 Cancer, the Melanoma Research Alliance, and the “Protect Your Skin” campaign to make a new television and radio public service announcement about how to stay safe and prevent skin cancer.

“I don’t really do PSAs very often,” says De Laurentiis. “The real reason I did this one  is truly because my brother passed away nine years ago now of melanoma, and I was very, very heartbroken.”

De Laurentiis’ brother, Dino, never checked his skin and didn’t go to the doctor regularly. He only discovered his melanoma while working on a movie in Slovakia, when a coworker told him that his sweater looked bloody. A mole on his back had started bleeding, and it wouldn’t stop. He visited a hospital in Vienna—”honestly he only went because he couldn’t keep the bleeding from going all over his clothes,” says De Laurentiis—and was diagnosed with stage nine melanoma at the age of 29.

“He immediately went into surgery, and from there it was all downhill,” she says. Dino’s cancer spread, and he died of liver failure at the age of 31.

“That experience woke me up,” says De Laurentiis. “I realized we ‘re all at risk.”

She urges everyone to wear sunscreen daily, avoid tanning beds, and check out their skin regularly.

“If you see any changes in your moles, go to the doctor and get it checked out,” she says. “You can protect yourself from skin cancer, and you can survive if you get it.”

Check out the PSA:

photo: courtesy of Stand Up 2 Cancer and the Melanoma Research Alliance

More From Women’s Health:
Some Melanoma Survivors Don’t Use Sunscreen
What’s Your Skin Cancer Risk?
The New Skin Cancer Fighter

javahut healthy feed

Breaking STD News From the CDC

According to a new infographic just released by the Centers for Disease Control, 24,000 young women a year are affected by infertility due to undiagnosed STDs. What’s more, only 55 percent of the young adults who have Chlamydia actually know they have it—and only 35 percent of those with Gonorrhea are aware of it. Here, more sobering stats:

Get more info on STDs and sexual health:

Types of STDs: Trouble Down Below

Safe Sex: Lay Down Some Rubber!

Scary News About STDs

Beyond Condoms

7 Surprising STD Facts

Why Isn’t Random Hooking Up Scary Anymore?

Two People, One STD—Is Sex Safe?

thumbnail photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

javahut healthy feed

Should I Worry About Getting an STI From My Bikini Wax?

Every week, the Scoop examines alarming new claims to help you make sense of the latest health research.

As if you need another reason to dread your bikini wax: Grooming your nether-regions could make you more susceptible to certain STIs, according to a new French case study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Case study author François Desruelles, MD, a dermatologist at Archet Hospital in Nice, France, asked 30 of his patients infected with molluscum contagiosum (a pox virus marked by painless, wart-like sores) about their pubic hair-removal habits. Turns out, 93 percent of them participated in some kind of private-part maintenance. Seventy percent shaved, 13 percent clipped, and 10 percent waxed away unwanted hair.

Here’s the thing: Since your pubic hair acts as a layer of defense against all types of infections, including any STIs you may come into contact with, removing it makes you more vulnerable. Healthy skin is another barrier against infection. But since most hair-removal methods, when done improperly, could cause microscopic wounds, irritations, and (if you wax) burns and inflammation, you risk making yourself more vulnerable to infection when you get rid of down-there hair, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Don’t cancel your bikini wax just yet, though. Keep in mind that the study only looked at patients already infected with molluscum contagiosum. Tons of people tend to their pubic hair but don’t contract an STI, says Tracy Zivin-Tutela, MD, an infectious disease expert at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine.

In reality, getting professionally waxed is safer than shaving and riskier than laser hair removal—but any hair-removal method is pretty benign when done properly. If you’re a waxer, make sure to pick a salon that’s hasn’t violated any health codes, says Desruelles. The clinician should use new or sterile equipment, and they shouldn’t double dip applicators into the wax during the treatment (since that can spread infection, says Zivin-Tutela).

If you do end up with any kind of cuts, redness, inflammation, or irritation post-hair removal, use an OTC cortisone cream or bacitracin to get rid of the problem ASAP, says Zeichner. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of sexual contact until your skin heals fully, he says. Holding off for a few days may be hard, but protecting your sexual health is so worth it.

The verdict: Almost any hair removal technique can result in skin damage that makes you more susceptible to STIs—but as long as your skin is in good shape, infection is still pretty unlikely. When it comes to waxing, stick to a sanitary salon to further reduce your risk.

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

More From WH:
Get the Closest Shave Ever
The Dangers of Shaving Below the Belt
The Untreatable STI

15 Min Belly, Butt & Thigh Workout
What’s the 15-Minute Fat Loss Secret? Find out here!



javahut healthy feed

Work From Home—Without Pissing Off Your Boss

It was the memo heard (or, OK, read) ‘round the world. Last month, Yahoo! employees received an email from Human Resources explaining that, starting in June, they’ll no longer be allowed to telecommute. “To become the absolute best place to work,” read the memo, “communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

The arguments for and against Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s telecommuting ban began immediately. Some studies show that working from home improves productivity, job satisfaction, and work-life balance; detractors contend that it decreases innovation, and gives people an opportunity to slack off. Regardless, here’s the deal: Some people—whether because their companies ask them to or because of personal reasons—just have to work from home either regularly or semi-regularly. If you’re one of them, read on for how to keep up communication, collaboration, and creativity from the desk at your house:

Establish a game plan
Propose a communication strategy to your boss, one that covers when and how often you’ll be sending updates and checking in, suggests Kelly Sakai-O’Neill, Senior Manager of Applied Research for the Families and Work Institute. And try to take your boss’s perspective when you craft it; anticipate any of the fears she might have about getting the information she needs. One possible approach to take: Schedule office hours (throwback to college!). Remember when once or twice a week any student could stop by a professor’s office for a quick review? Do the same thing with your boss, suggests Kimberly Elsbach, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Davis’s Graduate School of Management, whose own research shows that telecommuting makes it harder to get a strong manager evaluation. That way you don’t have to email or call every time you have a question—you can discuss a laundry list on the phone all at once, much like you would if you just physically popped into her office.

Be ultra-available
When you’re telecommuting, you have to deliver strong every single time, and you have to be hyper-organized in your team communication. “Show them that it’s easy to work with you even though you’re remote,” Elsbach says. One way to do that: Make sure that you’re as accessible as you would be if you were in the next cube over. “Replying to emails immediately, doing regular updates on what you’re working on, answering the phone on first ring—those seem like silly things, but they actually send a signal that says, ‘I’m here, I’m available, I’m just as accessible as if I were sitting in my office,’” Elsbach says. For that reason, it’s best if you can work the same hours as the people onsite, if not more. If you have to break it up a bit, just make sure your manager and coworkers know your schedule, Sakai-O’Neill says. Another way to up your availability even more: It’s old school, but ask your company to pay for the price of a landline in your home office. That way you never have to worry about dropped calls or bad reception. Set it up with a Google voice number that rings through to your cell phone after three unanswered rings for the moments when you’re out walking the dog.

Embrace technology
“People have what we call face time bias—they unconsciously attribute more positive traits to people whom they see a lot at work,” says Elsbach. But thanks to technology, you don’t need to be in the same room to speak face-to-face. Sakai-O’Neill is a big fan of Google+ Hangouts—video conferencing with up to nine people, which allow you to read people’s facial expressions and feel a bit more like you’re communicating normally. There’s also Skype, and even Gchat and instant messaging. “A lot of these things are free or low cost and make it possible to bring people together in different locations in a way that maybe wasn’t possible 10 years ago,” Sakai-O’Neill says. These tech tools aren’t quite the same as in-person meetings—it’s not as easy to read body language from a screen, Elsbach points out—but you and your team can test them out and decide if they’re worth using.

Use creative creativity boosters
Can’t brainstorm with a group on the regular? A bummer, yes, but telecommuters can actually refuel their inspiration levels in a way most office workers can’t. See: break time. If you’re working from home, it doesn’t have to be lunch hour for you to head outside. “One thing we find is that people think most creatively when they’re in a natural environment,” Elsbach says. You can also stop and fold the laundry, take a shower, or spend 10 minutes running on the treadmill. “Doing something that keeps the mind active but isn’t taxing—those are the situations in which people have those a-ha moments,” Elsbach explains. If you need to channel energy from other humans, spend some time at a coffee shop with free wi-fi. Another fun way to get the ideas coming: Surround yourself with the color blue; it also promotes creativity, according to research out of the University of British Columbia. (Hello, excuse to hit up West Elm!)

photo: Lucky Business/Shutterstock

More from Women’s Health:
Work Less, Play More
Stay Focused: How to Get More Work Done in the Office
How to Stand Out at Work

To find out how to suppress your hunger hormone, buy The Belly Fat Fix now!

javahut healthy feed