Partners Get Pregnancy Symptoms, Too!

Sometimes moms-to-be are the only ones craving strange foods and having wild pregnancy dreams. There are indeed fathers-to-be who experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. Called Couvade syndrome -- this condition isn't entirely rare! Check out these stories from couples who've both experience symptoms during pregnancy.

A Sympathetic Partner = Sympathetic Pregnancy?
Did your partner have any pregnancy symptoms while you were expecting? Many partners aren't just sympathetic to Mom-to-Be's symptoms, they experience them as well! We collected stories from just such couples.

What Type of Dad Will He Be?

Chances are, the dad-to-be in your life falls into one of these five categories. So take a break from obsessing about childcare and strollers to find the dad style that best describes your guy.

The Provider
His Dad Style: His new responsibilities weigh heavily, and there's something almost primitive about his drive to make sure he can meet his family's need for food and shelter. He works late and worries about money (okay, these days, who doesn't, but still).

Early Warning Signs: You already have life insurance and a will. He seems to look forward to figuring out taxes each spring.

Pros: He's heavily researching the best 529 account to pay for college -- that is, if he hasn't already set one up.

Cons: You wish he'd spend more time in fun mode than in living deadline to deadline. He's famous for saying "Just give me five minutes," which means at least an hour. And when you come home with a new stroller (because the one you had was too heavy), he's likely to grill you on how much it cost and whether it was really necessary. Sigh... if he took the baby on more outings, he'd know.

What's the forecast? Your kids will grow up with a model of responsibility and solid finances. You may be able to kick in for their weddings.

A Nine-Month Plan for Getting Your Family's Finances in Order

If you're an expectant parent, you have probably learned enough medical terminology to pass for a fledgling ob-gyn, grasping complexities like alfa-fetoprotein levels and epidural anesthesiology. But studies indicate that you should be paying as much attention to the jargon of financial well-being -- arcane phrases like "Section 529 tax-advantaged college savings," for example, and "spousal IRAs."

According to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC, a baby born now will cost a middle-class family $170,460 to raise through age 17. The figure climbs to $249,180 -- about $15,000 a year -- if a family's annual income is above $65,800. And that doesn't even include college expenses, now averaging $26,070 a year at private schools and $11,976 at public ones. Covering the costs will inevitably be a stretch, since a recent Consumer Finance Survey by the Federal Reserve indicates that nearly two-thirds of households with young children are saving no money at all.

Checklist: Insurance, Taxes, and Wills

With a baby on the way, it's time to get your affairs in order. Here's a rundown of points to consider.

Health Insurance
Check your maternity benefits. Many states require that health-insurance policies include maternity benefits. The best plans pay the full cost of all prenatal care as well as hospital and doctors' bills for the baby's birth. Some policies, however, consider pregnancy a "preexisting condition" that is not covered during the first 3, 6, or even 12 months the policy is in effect. Ask your company's benefits manager to explain exactly what is covered under what conditions.

Make sure you're not paying for too much coverage. Usually, one family medical plan costs less than two individual plans, but a lot may depend on how much of the policy's cost is paid for by the employer. Some couples are able to coordinate benefits so that a second policy pays the deductible and other bills not covered by the first. Others find that the cost of a second policy exceeds any extra payments they'll receive.

Savvy Strategies for Parents on a Budget

Minor Money Changes

Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or a busy working mother, chances are that having a baby has been a financial challenge for your family. Between the cost of diapers, baby food, and childcare, just about all new parents are trying to figure out where to come up with that extra money. Find out what minor changes you can make that may significantly ease the strain on your budget.

Financial Considerations for Expectant Parents

With a new baby coming into your life, there are many financial considerations to take into account. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Life Insurance

Do I/we have life insurance?
How much life insurance will our family need?
Which kind of life insurance is best for us: universal, variable, or term?
How do I/we add a child as a beneficiary on existing insurance policies?
Health Insurance
How can I add baby to my or my partner's health insurance plan?
Does my current form of insurance cover prenatal care, labor, and delivery?
Would an HMO or PPO plan serve our needs better?

What to Expect: Hospital Birth Costs

Giving birth doesn't come cheap. From prenatal care and epidurals to pre-term deliveries and hospital stays, here's the bottom line on hospital births.

News flash: Having a baby is expensive. It's the most costly health event families are likely to experience during their childbearing years. On average, U.S. hospital deliveries cost $3,500 per stay, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Add in prenatal, delivery-related and post-partum healthcare, and you're looking at an $8,802 tab, according to a Thomson Healthcare study for March of Dimes.

But a lot of factors can move your bottom line, says Aleksandr M. Fuks, M.D., Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Queens Hospital Center. Here, we break down what to expect from hospital bills -- and how to safely lower them -- when you're expecting.

How to Keep Your Muscles Healthy

Healthy muscles mean more than pumping iron at the gym. The human body has over 600 muscles, many of which are involuntary. You can't go to the gym to exercise involuntary. In addition to exercise, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is necessary to keep all of your muscles in shape.

Things You'll Need
Keep Your Muscles Healthy With Proper Nutrition
Abide by the food pyramid for your recommended daily intake (see Resources below).

Avoid refined grains, such as white bread and white rice. Replace refined grains with whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, oatmeal and brown rice. Whole grain foods have fiber, an essential part of growing and repairing muscles.

How to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Bones continually go through the process of breaking down and building up. As one gets older, the ability to build bone is decreased. Starting early and staying healthy are ways to keep your bones in good shape.

Things You'll Need
Gym equipment
Calcium rich foods
Keep Your Bones Healthy With a Proper Diet
Eat foods that are rich in calcium. Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium.

Take calcium supplements if you are unable to consume dairy products.

How to Have Healthy Cuticles

Cracked and unhealthy cuticles can make even the best manicured nails look bad. The cuticle on your nail acts as a barrier to keep bacteria out of your body; therefore it is important not to cut them. However, it is important to keep your cuticles well groomed.

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