by Ann Douglas
First of all, relax. This isn't an official motherhood exam designed to assess your fitness for motherhood -- nor is it one of those nasty reproductive biology pop quizzes your high school health teacher like to spring on you, just to see if you were paying attention. It's just for fun-a chance to test your knowledge of pregnancy and babies before you find yourself being put to the test for real....
1. Which of the following gender prediction myths actually contains a grain of truth?
2. During baby's first year, you can expect to run up a sleep debt of approximately
3. By the time your baby is fully toilet-trained, you will have changed approximately
4. You can expect your baby's umbilical cord stump to fall off approximately
5. You can expect your sex life to be back on track within the following period of time after the birth of your baby:
1. "If you are experiencing severe morning sickness, you're probably having a girl." Theories such as this one have been tossed around for years, but a study conducted a few years back added more fuel to the fire. Swedish researchers discovered that 56% of women hospitalized with severe morning sickness ended up giving birth to baby girls. Even if there is something to this study -- something that's led to more than a few heated arguments amongst obstetricians-the findings aren't exactly definitive. At best, you can conclude that you may have slightly higher-than-average chance of having a baby girl if you're feeling exceptionally crummy. It's up to you whether you want to paint the nursery pink on that basis!
2. Your sleep debt -- the running total of how much sleep you've missed out on since your baby arrived -- will be sitting at about 550 hours by the time your baby blows out the candles on her birthday cake -- the equivalent of 68 eight-hour nights of missed sleep. The sleep deprivation is most intensive during the early months of your baby's life, when her sleep-wake cycles are still quite immature. It does get easier over time.
3. You can count on changing your baby's diaper about 5000 times before she finally graduates from Potty Training U.
4. It takes about 10 to 14 days for this pre-birth souvenir to fall off. Your baby's umbilical cord stump is initially wet and yellowish, but becomes dry and brownish black until it dries out and falls off entirely.
5. The truth? It never gets back to normal, if your definition of "normal" includes the frequency and spontaneity that were possible in your pre-baby days. New factors -- like fatigue and the responsibility for caring for a tiny little person -- now factor into the equation. For a preview of what sex may be like after baby, check out Todaysparent.com's 2005 Sex Survey (available online) and read Sexy Mamas: Keeping Your Sex Life Alive While Raising Kids by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans.