Jena Pincott’s new book unveils the mysterious side of pregnancy through scientific studies that will have you reaching for the dark chocolate.
To say pregnancy is a mystery is a gross understatement. In order to fend off the realm of the unknown, we tend to book-up–or worse, Google-up–reading everything we can get our hands on in an effort to quell our doubts and answer all our questions. So, what’s the problem with that? There are so many answers, from good to bad and very ugly. Worst-case scenarios abound. While pregnant with my twin girls, I finally had to throw out one bestselling pregnancy book and tell the hubs to do the reading from there on out. I was making myself crazy! Sound familiar?
Too bad I missed out on science writer Jena Pincott’s new book, “Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? The Surprising Science of Pregnancy.” According to the December/January issue of Fit Pregnancy, Pincott effortlessly “melds fascinating facts about pregnancy with practical advice.” None of the scary stuff. Love that. Here’s a sampling of some tips from the book:
1. Expect to hate your partner’s smell. Prior to pregnancy his smell subconsciously drew you to him, even to the point of being “a sign of compatibility on a biological level.” Most likely, your sniffer is “now under the influence of progesterone,” which is not only helpful for a developing pregnancy, but is also associated with bonding. Could our noses be drawing us closer to flesh-and-blood kin (our babies) over our dear husbands? Pincott says, “In our ancestral past, parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts may have been more helpful than mates when it comes to childbirth and raising a baby.” Good thing our husbands have evolved.
2. Enjoy chocolate daily. The author–and she’s a scientist!–says pregnant women should eat chocolate regularly because it might help alleviate the baby’s stress in the womb and even “improve his temperament after birth.” So Junior actually is sweeter! Don’t forget, dark chocolate is the go-to for less fat and more health benefits.
3. Embrace the pregnancy dreams and nightmares. We have vivid dreams more often while pregnant, thanks to all those “hormones and fractured sleep cycles.” But relax! There’s a good reason for them. The more vivid the dreams and nightmares, the more our “evolutionary purpose of dreaming” may be working out our stresses due to a major life change. Impending parenthood certainly counts, right? Expectant mothers who dream more also tend to have faster deliveries and a significantly reduced chance of postpartum depression.
4. Push yourself a little bit. While we’re always telling ourselves to stress less, Pincott believes there could be an upside to the pressure. Studies have shown that moderate stress in the second and third trimesters has been “associated with higher cognitive and motor scores in children” compared to those whose mothers had a relatively stress-free pregnancy. In that case, I may have given my girls a leg up in this world.