Your baby this week
18 weeks pregnant

Pregnant woman

Staying sexy

Is it safe to continue to be sexually active as your pregnancy progresses?

 Click here for the answer as Obstetrician / Gynecologist David Barrere tells you what's safe, what to watch for, and about the effect of an orgasm on your uterus (and read more about sex during pregnancy here).

Candy, candy baby

If a chocolate craving or a need for sweets has you reaching for the goodies in the checkout aisle, you probably are trying to balance your desires with your concern for your baby's health.

Many things may trigger a heightened desire for sweets, including hormonal status (estrogen is an appetite stimulant!), seasons and/or holidays of the year, trimester of pregnancy, mood changes, and so forth.

But a very common cause of craving sweets is simply being overtired. Such fatigue may be caused by emotional anxiety, excitement, physical tiredness, lack of ability to sleep and/or being overextended from commitments to work, family and perhaps meeting the needs of your child/children. 

Read more about candy and pregnancy now -- and get some help with the cravings with these luscious low-sugar dessert recipes

Pilates and pregnancy

Fit womanBeing pregnant does not give you a license to ignore your fitness. Even though your belly (and other parts of your body) are growing and you feel like you will never have a fit physique again, exercise can make your mama-body stronger, your pregnancy and delivery easier and your postpartum recovery faster. Pilates is the perfect exercise modality to follow before, during and after your pregnancy, says Sarah Picot, author of Pilates and Pregnancy and the Pilates for You DVD series.

"Three areas to focus on while pregnant are back strength, pelvic floor strength and posture," Picot explains. Your pregnant body is prone to strains and pulls and the increase in weight puts tremendous pressure on your back, shoulders and legs. "As your baby grows, the weight strain on your back and shoulders can ruin posture," she adds.

In addition, relaxin (the pregnancy hormone that promotes the loosening of your joints) and the changes in your body to accommodate the growth of your baby, weakens the muscles and joints in the pelvic area. These muscles are key in delivery and, if they are kept strong throughout the pregnancy, can make recovery that much easier.

Read more in Pilates and pregnancy: Five exercises for a strong-mama body!

Expecting twins?

Shock. Amazement. Elation. How would you feel to find out that you were carrying twins -- or more?

SJP with twins

Here's a look at how one mom found out there was more than one baby on the way, and how she reacted to the news!

Shelly Blizzard-Jones of Toronto, Canada, was sent to get an ultrasound so her caregiver could determine her due date. "I went alone because I thought we wouldn't see much. When I looked at the screen I said, 'That's very interesting... I didn't know I had a dual uterus. Why wouldn't they have told me when I was pregnant with my son?' The ultrasound technician looked confused and then we just stared at each other for the longest time," she says. "All of a sudden it clicked. I was shocked." (See what twins look like on the ultrasound here.)

Shelly never thought she might be carrying more than one baby. "My husband and I joked about it but never really seriously considered the possibility." For most expectant parents, a positive pregnancy test is exciting news. But when they discover that more than one baby is taking shape in the womb, shock -- along with other feelings that range from fear to elation -- is not uncommon.

Click to read how other moms go the twin news!

In the know

FlowerA study conducted by Dr Tiffany Field at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage actually reduces stress hormones in the body. Touch is vital to the mother's physical and emotional well-being as she adapts to her new body image.

Regardless of individual circumstances, a pregnant woman's body is challenged, changed and stressed in many ways. Massage gives special attention to you, which in turn nurtures the new life that grows within.

Want to give it a try? Find out more about pregnancy massage right here.

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