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14 myths about pregnancy

Most people have heard pregnancy-related advice or information, which often focuses on what different symptoms mean, how to tell the sex of the baby, and what a woman can and cannot do during pregnancy.
Although some pieces of information, particularly those from healthcare professionals, can be accurate and helpful, lots of myths circulate pregnancy.
Here, we look at some popular myths and explain the truth behind them.

1. Myth: Teen pregnancy is on the rise
A person can speak to a healthcare professional about what to expect during pregnancy
In reality, the rate of teen pregnancies in the United States is slowly decreasing.
Research suggests that this decline is primarily due to the increased use of contraceptives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, in 2017, the number of recorded pregnancies for teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age was 194,377. This total is down 7%Trusted Source from 2016.

2. Myth: Twin pregnancies are rare

Twin pregnancies are more common than people might think.
According to the CDCTrusted Source, approximately 128,310 twin babies were born in 2017. Twins account for roughly 33 out of 1,000 births in the U.S.

3. Myth: Heartburn means that the baby will have a lot of hair

There is limited evidence to confirm whether this is true.
A small study from 2006 found that 23 of the 28 participants who reported experiencing moderate-to-severe heartburn had babies with an average or above average amount of hair.
The researchers suggested that this may be due to pregnancy hormones that affect both hair growth and the relaxing of the muscles that separate the esophagus, or food pipe, from the stomach.

4. Myth: It is possible to predict the sex of the baby

People propose many different techniques for predicting the sex of the baby. These range from using the shape of the pregnant woman's face or belly to guess the sex to seeing how a wedding ring rotates when the woman suspends it from a string and holds it over the belly.
None of these methods are accurate indicators of a baby's sex.

5. Myth: A woman should eat for two when pregnant

Diet for pregnant women
While it is true that women may need to increase their caloric intake slightly when pregnant, they should avoid overeating.
Overeating can be harmful to both the woman and the fetus, especially if the diet contains a lot of empty calories.
Women should aim for a gradual increase in calories throughout the pregnancy:
  • First trimester: No extra calories are necessary.
  • Second trimester: Experts recommend an additional 340 calories per day.
  • Third trimester: An additional 450 calories per day is the recommendation.
Women should generally focus on continuing with their regular diet, but they should ensure that they are eating nutrient-rich foods.

6. Myth: A woman should avoid exercising when pregnant

Most women should engage in light-to-moderate exercise during pregnancy.
A woman who did not exercise regularly before becoming pregnant should talk to a healthcare professional before starting a new routine.
According to one surveyTrusted Source of obstetricians, or doctors specializing in childbirth, more than half of the respondents said that they do not usually recommend that women start a new routine if they were sedentary before becoming pregnant.
However, 97% of the respondents reported recommending light-to-moderate aerobic exercise 2–5 days a week for women in the first trimester.

7. Myth: Morning sickness only occurs in the morning

Despite its name, morning sickness can affect pregnant women throughout the day. Less than 2%Trusted Source of pregnant women experience morning sickness only in the morning.
Morning sickness typically starts by the fourth week and ends by the 16th week.

8. Myth: Eating certain foods can cause an allergy to develop

Pregnant women can eat foods that people often associate with allergies, such as nuts and milk, as long as they are not allergic to them. The baby will not develop an allergy to these foods.
However, a woman should avoid some foods, such as raw meat, seafood, and certain soft cheeses, for other health reasons.
A healthcare professional can provide more information on which foods to avoid.

9. Myth: A woman should avoid sex during pregnancy

Sex has no effect on an otherwise healthy pregnancy.
The authors of a reviewTrusted Source of existing research concluded that sex during pregnancy did not increase the risk of preterm labor in low risk pregnancies. They also noted that other potential complications remain unproven.
In rare cases, a doctor will recommend abstaining from having sex during pregnancy. For instance, if heavy bleeding has occurred during the pregnancy or the water has broken, a woman should avoid having sex.
Women who are experiencing placental problems, cervical insufficiency, or any other factors that increase the chance of preterm labor should check with a doctor before having sex.

10. Myth: Cats are off limits

Many women try to avoid coming into contact with cats during pregnancy because they have heard that cats can cause an infection.
Cat feces can carry toxoplasmosis, a potentially harmful disease. As a precaution, therefore, a pregnant woman should either wear gloves to change the litter or have someone else do it.
Women do not need to avoid cats during pregnancy as long as they follow this precaution.

11. Myth: A woman cannot drink coffee during pregnancy

Women can still have a cup of coffee each day when pregnant, but they should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg or less. This amount equates to about 1.5 cups of coffee, where a cup is 8 ounces.

12. Myth: A woman will be happy and glowing all the time

Pregnancy can be difficult for many women. Hormones, body changes, and tiredness can take their toll on both physical and mental health, as well as affecting a woman's mood.
It is normal for people not to feel happy all of the time, and pregnant women are no different.

13. Myth: Vaginal delivery is not possible after a cesarean delivery

In reality, a woman may be able to have a vaginal birth following a previous cesarean delivery.
The decision to give birth via a cesarean or vaginal delivery depends on how the current pregnancy is progressing, the woman's labor, and the risk of any potential complications.

14. Myth: Certain foods and drinks can bring on labor

Most of the natural and alternative medicines that people recommend to induce labor have no basis in scientific knowledge.
2018 studyTrusted Source found that some herbal medicines may be effective.
However, the popular natural methods that people use to try to induce labor vary in terms of safety:
  • Blue and black cohosh: There is evidenceTrusted Source to suggest that these roots may cause fetal heart failure and stroke, as well as maternal complications during labor.
  • Pineapple: There is no harm in eating pineapple, but it may cause heartburn.
  • Castor oil: This oil may cause uterine irritation and contractions, but they are often a result of diarrhea rather than labor.
  • Spicy foods: There is no proof that eating spicy foods will induce labor. They can cause gastrointestinal upset and heartburn, however.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate herbal medicines in the same way that they assess standard medicines. As a result, people should discuss their use with a healthcare professional.

Many myths surround pregnancy, some of which involve incorrect information or advice that may be harmful.
A woman should talk to a doctor before making any significant dietary, healthcare, or lifestyle changes during pregnancy.


Is it possible to become pregnant if you have unprotected sex for just a few seconds and your partner doesn’t come (ejaculate)? My bf pulled out because we didn’t have protection.

Thank you for your question. Yes, it’s possible to become pregnant ANYTIME you have unprotected sex. Even though you only had intercourse for a few seconds and your bf did not ejaculate and release “semen”, it’s possible that “pre-ejaculation” was released. Pre-ejaculation or “pre-cum” is a fluid that can contain sperm from previous ejaculations. Most men have a small amount of pre-ejaculation before they have an “orgasm”, (when they release a larger amount of fluid called “semen” that contains millions of sperm). Although your risk of pregnancy is lower, it is still risky not to use protection.

The withdrawal or “pull-out” method (when a man withdraws his penis completely from the vagina before ejaculating) is considered a risky method of contraception. Of 100 women using this method, 22 will get pregnant! Condoms used perfectly are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy as well as most sexually transmitted infections. There are also other birth control methods available such as the Pill, diaphragm, IUD, monthly injections (Depo-Provera) and implants such as Nexplanon. Talk with your health care provider to find out what birth control method is right for you. If you think you may be pregnant, it’s very important that you schedule an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible.

What to know about bleeding after a Pap smear

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What to know about swollen cervical lymph nodes

The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that helps support immunity. The lymph nodes are tiny, kidney-shaped structures that act as filters within this system. Their role is to trap and kill viruses and bacteria before these pathogens can return to the bloodstream.
Lymph nodes exist in different areas of the body, including the neck, or "cervical," region. Nodes in this area are called "cervical lymph nodes."
Sometimes, the cervical lymph nodes may swell. This article outlines the potential causes of this swelling, as well as information on treatment options and when to see a doctor.
An infection is a possible cause of swollen cervical lymph nodes.
Cervical lymph nodes are located in the sides and back of the neck. These glands are usually very small. However, when a lymph node is greater than 1 centimeter in diameter, it is enlarged.
The cervical lymph nodes sit deep inside the neck. For this reason, most people without medical training are unable to feel them, even when they are swollen. However, a doctor may be able to feel one or more bumps beneath the skin when examining the neck region.
In some cases, a person with swollen cervical lymph nodes may experience pain and swelling in the neck area.


Many conditions can cause swollen cervical lymph nodes. Each cause is usually accompanied by additional symptoms.
Some possible causes of swollen cervical lymph nodes include:


Infection is one of the most common causes of swollen lymph nodes anywhere in the body.
When there is an infection somewhere in the body, the lymph nodes in that area fill with white blood cells. The white blood cells then start to destroy the pathogens responsible for the infection.
The accumulation of white blood cells in the lymph nodes is what causes them to swell.
Some common infections that may lead to swollen cervical lymph nodes include:
Additional signs of infection depend on the specific illness but may include:
Lymph nodes that swell as a result of infection are usually painful when a person touches them. However, they also tend to return to their normal size once the infection clears.


Less commonly, swollen cervical lymph nodes may be a sign of cancer. Cancers that affect the lymph nodes are called lymphomas. These cancers typically cause swelling of the lymph nodes in more than one area of the body.
There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may develop in lymph nodes anywhere in the body, whereas Hodgkin lymphoma tends to develop in the neck, chest, or armpits.
These two conditions share the following symptoms:
A person who experiences any of these symptoms in addition to enlarged lymph nodes should see their doctor. Hodgkin lymphoma is highly treatable if a person receives a diagnosis and starts undergoing treatment in the early stages.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is less treatable, but this is because doctors may not be able to diagnose it until it has reached an advanced stage.


HIV is a common cause of swollen lymph nodes. The nodes are particularly prone to swelling in the early, or "acute," stage of HIV. This is when the body begins fighting the infection.
HIV can cause swelling of the lymph nodes anywhere in the body. However, it most commonly causes swelling in the cervical lymph nodes.
A 2016 study investigated lymph node abnormalities in 100 participants with HIV and swollen lymph nodes. Of the participants, 60% had swelling in the cervical lymph nodes.
Some additional symptoms of HIV include:

Medication side effects

Rarely, swollen lymph nodes can occur as a side effect of a medication. When medication is the cause, swelling may develop in any of the nodes, including the cervical lymph nodes.
Though rare, antiseizure medications and chemotherapy drugs such as granulocyte colony stimulating factor may cause swelling of the lymph nodes.


A doctor can usually detect a swollen cervical lymph node by feeling a person's neck. Additional tests are often necessary to determine the size of the node and whether or not any other lymph nodes are swollen.
Diagnosing the exact cause of the swollen lymph nodes can be more difficult. To aid the diagnosis, a doctor will ask about the person's symptoms and medical history. They may also order the following diagnostic tests:
  • blood tests
  • throat culture
  • CT scan
  • X-rays
If necessary, the doctor may also perform a biopsy of the cervical lymph nodes to check for the presence of cancer cells.


The treatment options for swollen lymph nodes depend on the underlying cause, as outlined below:

Infectious causes

A swollen lymph node usually occurs as a result of infection. In such cases, the lymph node should return to its normal size once the infection has cleared.
Swollen lymph nodes typically do not require treatment unless they are painful. However, if the symptoms are bothersome, the following home remedies may help:
  • applying a warm compress several times per day to ease the soreness
  • taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce discomfort
  • getting plenty of rest, which helps the body fight off the infection
If symptoms persist or worsen despite home treatment, a person should see their doctor. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the underlying infection.


                               Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are possible treatments for lymphoma.
The treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma depend on several factors, including:
  • the type of lymphoma a person has
  • the stage the cancer is at
  • the person's overall health
Some potential treatment options include:
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • immunotherapy


A person with HIV may receive antiretroviral medications to help keep the virus under control. These drugs work by reducing the amount of the virus in a person's blood and bodily fluids.

When to see a doctor

In most cases, swollen cervical lymph nodes indicate that the body is fighting an infection. Treatment is not usually necessary, since the node should return to its normal size once the infection clears.
However, a person should see a doctor if there are no other obvious signs of infection present. This could indicate that the swelling is due to another cause, such as cancer or HIV.
The following symptoms should prompt a person to see their doctor:
  • pain and swelling that lasts for longer than a few days
  • additional symptoms, such as fever, unexpected weight loss, or fatigue
  • a swollen cervical lymph node that is hard and painless
  • a rapid change in the size of the lymph node
  • swelling in more than one area of lymph nodes, such as in the neck and the groin


Swollen cervical lymph nodes are common, and they do not usually indicate a serious medical condition. In most cases, swelling is a temporary response to an infection.
Sometimes, however, swollen lymph nodes might signal a more serious underlying condition. A person should see their doctor if the swelling persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms.
A hard, painless cervical lymph node also requires prompt medical attention.
The treatment of swollen cervical lymph nodes depends on the underlying cause. A person can ask their doctor about the treatment options available to them.