As of today, I have 106 more nights of uninterrupted sleep before our twins arrive.
And as the date gets closer, I find myself desperate for knowledge. What could go wrong? What should I buy? What type of parent do I want to be?
Luckily, that information isn’t very hard to find. In fact, there’s far too much of it. It’s so easy to locate (71,390 parenting books on Amazon alone), that I’ve spent more time vetting crazy parenting techniques than actually making decisions.
Speaking of crazy… I’ve come across so many interesting things on the internet this week, that I had no choice but to pull together this list for you guys. Did you know that…
- You can save cord blood.
- Cord blood is rich in stem cells that can morph into all sorts of blood cells. Because they can be used to treat diseases that harm the immune system, like leukemia and certain cancers, a lot of parents have moved this subject to the very top of their debate list. As of today, 90% of cord blood is discarded, but lots of doctors say it’s a precious resource that more parents should consider saving. So if you’re willing to fork over some extra cash ($500 to $2,500 processing fee and about $200 each year thereafter), then this is something you and your partner should look into.
- Nipple stimulation can bring on labor.
- This one was hard to confirm at first, but it’s actually true. Nipple stimulation is the only scientifically proven method of legitimately inducing labor. Rubbing a woman’s nipples when she’s full term can stimulate the release of a hormone called Oxytocin, which can cause contractions to get stronger and longer. In fact, in traditional inductions, doctors often use the drug Pitocin, which is a synthetic form of Oxytocin. Take that, nipple stimulation skeptics!
- Babies drink their own pee.
- I’m not going to spend too much time on this one for obvious reasons. From the second trimester onward, babies pee in the uterus. Then they drink it. Then they pee again. Then they drink it. Get the picture
- Taller women are more likely to have multiples.
- I was almost ready to file this one under SILLY RUMOR, but it’s true. Dr. Gary Steinman, a researcher who specializes in multiple-birth pregnancies, published a study in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine that says women who birthed two or more children are more than an inch taller than the average woman. To get all nerdy about it, insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is a protein released by the liver in response to growth hormones. It increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormones, which increases ovulation. In fact, countries with taller women have higher rates of twinning. Sorry short people, your IGF levels just aren’t high enough.
- Baby girls are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have.
- It’s an interesting fact when you realize that boys don’t develop sperm until puberty, but girl’s ovaries contain up to 1,000,000 follicles that each have an immature egg at the center.
- For every 2,000 babies, one is born with a tooth.
- Not to be confused with neonatal teeth, which grow in the first 30 days after birth, natal teeth are the ones that are already present when your baby arrives. They are very uncommon, but can develop on the lower gum where the front teeth will appear. And because they have little root structure, they are often very wobbly.
- Babies have all their fingerprints by 9-12 weeks.
- I’m not sure why, but this particular fact really surprised me. The fetus is growing rapidly during this time, with weight increasing approximately 77%. The brain is developing, the fetus can yawn, and yes, nails begin to emerge and fingerprints begin to form.
- Babies cry in the womb.
- Because of all of the fluid in there, you can’t actually hear it, but according to a study of video recorded ultrasounds in the third trimester, startling the baby can cause fetuses to display traditional crying behavior. Doesn’t that make you want to cry, too?
- Some pregnant women lactate at the sound of babies crying.
- I find this one truly fascinating. As if women aren’t already amazing enough, their bodies become in tune to their baby’s needs. Known as The Letdown Reflex, milk begins expelling from her breasts at the sound of a baby crying (even if it’s not her own).
- You can get pregnant when you’re pregnant.
- Known as superfetation, this odd (and terrifying) phenomenon has actually happened to a handful of women. For example, a woman in Arkansas recently carried two children with two different due dates. Freaky, isn’t it?
Be honest with me. How many of these did you already know? Or better yet, what pregnancy facts blew your mind and didn’t make my list? Let me know and I’ll feature your submissions in a future “Strange Things I Learned About Babies This Week” post.
Until next time, stay crafty.
Credit where credit is due: The book featured in these photos is Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year by Scott W. Cohen.