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Pregnancy is a truly magical experience. But it can be an extremely frightening one as well. It’s 9 months of anxiety-filled tension…a time when you (or those you love) will worry about everything you eat, touch or do, and threats to your unborn baby seem to be lurking around every corner. You’ll be inundated by all sorts of dire warnings about everything that might go wrong, which cumulatively can make it seem like having a successful pregnancy is as tricky as trying to crash land a plane on a sinking aircraft carrier.

Others will offer you all sorts of unsolicited (and often conflicting) advice. You’ll find that suddenly everyone’s a pregnancy expert, and are all too eager to let you know exactly what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Some will take a more relaxed approach, while others insist on bubble-wrapping you and treating YOU like the infant, lest the slightest deviation spell doom and gloom for your baby. “A lot of people think pregnant women are accidents waiting to happen,” says Douglas Laube, former president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “It’s just crazy.”

Yet there’s also good reason for all the concern. It’s been argued that the 9 months of gestation in the womb is the most consequential stage of human development, and what does or doesn’t happen during pregnancy can leave a lasting impact with potentially serious consequences. “We pass more biological milestones before we’re born than at any other time in our lives,” says Peter Nathanielsz, director of the Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “If we do not pass them correctly, there is a price to pay.”

The following resources are meant to help you sort out pregnancy fact from fiction, providing balanced, accurate information that will help ensure a healthy pregnancy, while keeping you from losing your mind in the process.

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