If you’re pregnant or trying, eat all the carbs, says new study

One of the great joys of pregnancy is that no one looks at you twice when you ask for another serving. Now research shows that especially applies to the bread basket on the dinner table.

According to a study published last week in the journal Birth Defects Research, expectant mothers who restricted their carbohydrate intake were 30% more likely to have a child with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.

For the study, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which included information on 1,740 cases of anencephaly or spina bifida as well as 9,545 cases without birth defects. They found that women who restricted their carbohydrate intake before pregnancy and during pregnancy had significantly lower levels of folic acid—which is essential to the healthy of developing fetuses.

These findings should send a clear message that women who hope to become pregnant should loop their health care providers in as soon as possible, says lead researcher Tania Desrosiers, PhD, MPH, and research assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

“This is concerning because low carbohydrate diets are fairly popular,” Desrosiers says in a press release. “This finding reinforces the importance for women who may become pregnant to talk to their health care provider about any special diets or eating behaviors they routinely practice."

According to the 2017 Prenatal Health & Nutrition survey, only 34% of women take prenatal vitamins before learning they are pregnant. However, neural tube defects (NTDs) occur within the first month of pregnancy—often before women are aware they are expecting.

Because of this gap, the March of Dimes reports seven in 10 cases of NTDs could be prevented if women of childbearing age took multivitamins with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.

As the latest research suggests, another possible solution for those who struggle to remember to take daily vitamins is just to load up on folic acid-rich or enriched foods, such as fortified pasta and bread or the gluten-free options of leafy greens, beans and citrus fruits.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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