In the film “Away We Go,” a young couple played by Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski is expecting their first child. When they learn that his parents (their only support system) are moving thousands of miles away, the couple sets off on an ambitious cross-country trip to find a new place to live.
That's an exaggerated version of a reality that many new parents face: Expanding their family means they need a new home.
But not so fast. A recent study looked at birth records of 30,000 women who had moved during the first trimester and found that it was associated with a 37% higher risk for low birthweight and 42% heightened risk of premature birth.
The study does not, however, explain why moving can be detrimental.
We have a pretty good idea why: The first trimester is when the rapidly developing fetus is most vulnerable to the negative effects of physical and psychological stress.
And moving often demands redecorating. So does staying put, sometimes, and that can lead to exposure to environmental toxins.
So put off moving — as well as painting and decorating — until at least the 14th week of pregnancy.
If you do move, get help with packing and leave heavy lifting to others. Throughout your pregnancy, de-stress with doctor-approved exercise, meditation, and plenty of sleep.
If you’re redecorating, use water-based paints in a well-ventilated room. Or better yet, let someone else do it.